Cross-Split of Dislocations: An Athermal and Rapid Plasticity Mechanism

R Kositski and O Kovalenko and SW Lee and JR Greer and E Rabkin and D Mordehai, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 6, 25966 (2016).

DOI: 10.1038/srep25966

The pathways by which dislocations, line defects within the lattice structure, overcome microstructural obstacles represent a key aspect in understanding the main mechanisms that control mechanical properties of ductile crystalline materials. While edge dislocations were believed to change their glide plane only by a slow, non-conservative, thermally activated motion, we suggest the existence of a rapid conservative athermal mechanism, by which the arrested edge dislocations split into two other edge dislocations that glide on two different crystallographic planes. This discovered mechanism, for which we coined a term "cross- split of edge dislocations", is a unique and collective phenomenon, which is triggered by an interaction with another same-sign pre-existing edge dislocation. This mechanism is demonstrated for faceted alpha-Fe nanoparticles under compression, in which we propose that cross-split of arrested edge dislocations is resulting in a strain burst. The cross- split mechanism provides an efficient pathway for edge dislocations to overcome planar obstacles.

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